Hard winter blowing snow clearing budget

March 19, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews –

Final figures aren’t in, but Town staff are betting the hard winter has blown the municipal snow clearing budget.

With periods of freezing rain Wednesday morning and more snowfall predicted for Friday and Saturday, seems that Old Man Winter isn’t through with us yet.

According to the Environment Canada Weather Office, as of press time, another two centimetres of snow was predicted to fall Wednesday night.

The forecast spoke about periods of snow and local blowing snow ending this evening then partly cloudy. That’s with about another two centimetres of snow and steady near-zero temperatures that’ll freeze roads and sidewalks.

On Saturday, we could look forward to the 70 percent possibility of snow or more rain. And just so you won’t look forward to anything like a reprieve next week, Tuesday has a 40 percent chance for snow and temperatures between a minus-12 low and a minus-4 high.

There’s been much grumbling through town about the winter’s heavy snowfall and cold temperatures.

For a spell since Christmas, it seemed as if there was a 10-centimetre snow dump at least once a week.

And, if it wasn’t snow that caused no-bus days for local students, it was treacherous ice on roads and sidewalks.

And the fallout from precipitation has steadily melted municipal winter road maintenance resources, said Doug Jones, Orangeville’s public works director. The town’s public works effort was supplemented by hired contractors.

He said the snow clearing purse is set each year for an average Orangeville winter.

“But this hasn’t been a typical winter,” he said.

“I’m pretty confident we have exhausted all the budget for winter road maintenance.”

There is a reserve fund that can be used should this winter continue yet, as in keeping with many people’s nightmares.

That reserve is built with unused funds from past years’ snow removal budgets, he said. When possible, any surplus goes into a reserve.

He says the winter road maintenance program “is not a discretionary expenditure. We have to go out and maintain the roads.”

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